Mint is a perennial herb that is propagated by root division or rooting cuttings in water. It enjoys a damp location, shaded from strong afternoon sun, and rich soil.
Mint genus is a large group of well-known perennial herbs, which are widely spread over the temperate parts of the world. Mentha includes the Apple Mint, Curly Mint, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pineapple Mint, Spearmint and Water or Bog Mint.
Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens) - This hardy perennial is a very robust grower. Apple Mint has interesting light green leaves. They are somewhat hairy on the upper surface and downy underneath, with serrated edges. They can grow up to 3 feet high, but should be kept lower.
Curly Mint (Mentha spicata variety crispii) - This plant is valued more for its intricately curled, fringed leaves than for its fragrance. The foliage is dark green and lightly splotched with a contrasting lighter green. They can grow up to 2 feet high and are invasive. Chefs like Curly Mint for garnishes, but prefer the pleasant flavor of Spearmint and Peppermint.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) - This creeping Mint is used once in a while as a ground cover in cool climates. It has many stems, which grow up to 12 inches high and are covered with small, round to oval, dark green leaves. In the summer it produces bluish-lilac blossoms. Pennyroyal has an enjoyable lemony aroma and is used to flavor meat puddings and fish entrees.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) - This spreading plant has a sharp, penetrating yet pleasant, mint aroma. It grows 1 to 2 feet high, but can reach 3 feet when in bloom. The lance-shaped leaves are deeply notched when mature and the flowers are usually purple.
Pineapple Mint (Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata') - Pineapple Mint is a variegated hybrid of Apple Mint with white or cream blotches on its leaves. It does have a slight Pineapple scent, but the aroma isn't always detectable. This Mint is good for garnishes because the thick leaves are slow to wilt.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) - This is considered one of the most popular and versatile garden Mint. Spearmint has a fruity aroma and flavor and blends well in many foods, including salads, sauces, teas and dips. This plant can reach 2 to 3 feet in height when in bloom. It has bright green leaves and purple flowers. Its toothed leaves lack stems, distinguishing this plant from Peppermint.
Water or Bog Mint (Mentha aquatica) - This aggressive Mint is great for growing along the margins of water gardens, though care must be taken that it doesn't become troublesome. The Bog Mint grows to a height of 2 or 3 feet. It produces pairs of very fragrant, elliptic-shaped, serrated leaves that are usually tinted with purple and shaded with even more purple on their undersides. The leaves grow from reddish colored stems. In the summer, whorls of lilac colored flowers grow at the stem tips. The leaves may be used to flavor salads and teas.
Peppermint is the mint of choice for medicinal purposes.